Well before the NBA announced the 2018 All-Star Game would shift to teams drafted by two captains instead of the traditional matchup between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, gears were already in motion at Jordan Brand for another first in the game’s history.
With Nike taking over the NBA apparel contract at the start of the 2017-18 season, it created an opportunity for its Jordan Brand subsidiary to make history when the league’s top talent gathered for the annual showcase. “It’s a big, big deal,” Jordan Brand president Larry Miller said at the Future of Flight event held at the CBS Studios in Los Angeles.
“To have the best basketball players in the world, on the court with the Jumpman logo on it, I think is a great accomplishment.”
During the regular season, the Jumpman logo is only present on Charlotte Hornets uniforms. That of course is due to Michael Jordan residing as the team’s owner.
“I think down the line there could be the possibility of other teams becoming Jordan as well,” Miller said. “Right now, I think MJ is happy with having his team being the only.”
But when it came to the All-Star Game, Jordan Brand vice president of marketing Brian O’Connor said a joint decision was made to place the Jumpman on the jerseys. With that, also came a shift to a monochromatic appearance in the form of black and white jerseys.
“They looked at colors that we know are going to connect with consumers. Black and white, we know those are solid colors,” Miller explained.
“Also, we thought that created an opportunity for the shoes to pop. We know every year the shoes get a little out there. And from a fashion and design perspective, we thought black and white was a great way to introduce the jerseys.”
That it came the same year of the NBA changing the overall format of the game was merely a coincidence. “For us, it was, ‘How do we take insights from the city?’ So L.A. street signs kind of helped create some of the typography and marks around the jersey,” said Jordan Brand vice president of design David Creech.
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) January 26, 2018
“But also, the color black and white. How can we create the team pride and get that passion into the game? Using influences from street culture, wearable colors like black and white, we felt like that jersey could also be worn off the court because of the colors.
“The team really obsessed on the typography of the street signs and how they could create a number system that aligned with that, but also take a little bit of street art from East L.A. And obviously some of the traditional things that you see in All-Star uniforms, like the stars and tapping on the border.”
Creech couldn’t shed any details or insight into the brand’s plans for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game that Jordan and the Hornets are hosting, but the focus remains on being innovators. “We continue to obsess with the storytelling piece, what’s right for the consumer, what’s best for the consumer, what are we hearing,” Creech said.
“I think there’s always kind of paying homage to the past. But at the end of the day, we’re trying to script the future.”
Miller added: “For us, we see it as an opportunity every year to push the envelope, introduce something new and bring something to the marketplace that wasn’t there. We now have a focal point every year to say, ‘We can introduce this at All-Star on the court.’ That’s a big deal for the brand.”
The space also had clothing availabe, including the option to customize products with patches. pic.twitter.com/aEOEyTt6sF
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) February 18, 2018
In addition to their presence during the Sunday showcase at Staples Center, Jordan Brand dominated All-Star Weekend festivities with a Studio 23 pop-up shop, billboards plastered in and around the L.A. Live area, and a lavish celebration for Jordan’s 55th birthday.
Successful as the debut of the Jumpman on All-Star Game jerseys was, there’s plenty of reason to expect Jordan Brand to build off it next season and in years ahead.